To schedule an interview or appearance with us, please email Jeff or call him at 612-296-3468.
Hi-rez and postscript images for use in publications:
Full Moon Night CD Cover
Written In Rope CD Cover
Long Way From Lovin' CD Cover
By Blood And Marriage CD Cover
Absolute Collision CD Cover
Saginaw Sweetheart CD Cover
Live at Bryant Lake Bowl CD Cover
Elvis Tribute EP CD Cover
OBT Records Logo - Illustrator EPS
...12 classic, timeless tunes of the sort that would cause the pointy-toed, embroidered boots of Hank Sr. or Buck Owens to start a-tapping.
Lonesome...spirited...catchy...a quite enjoyable piece of music.
...a stellar purveyor of stripped down arrangements and maudlin songwriting..."
...if Accident Clearinghouse is not a cover story on No Depression within a year, then that rag is not doing its job.
This band from Minnesota makes some rip-roaring good music. Accident Clearinghouse is one band to keep an eye on.
Remarkably talented and musically inspired. Accident Clearinghouse is a hidden treasure.
This disc is a classic by almost any standard.
Full Moon Night
Here's an album for everyone who's ever had their heart brokenwho's ever had a tear in their beer, drank it down and ordered a second round.
Full Moon shines all the way through, from the bouncy opener "The Prize," to the nifty cover of Smattering's "All For Show," to the soaring and melancholy ballad "The Last Great Saturday" which closes the record.
The mournful croons will please fans of old and new, whether you prefer alt-country in the Wilco vein or straight-up twang the Hank Williams way.
Full Moon Night
BY ACCIDENT - Country harmony trio Accident Clearinghouse is reuniting Saturday at the Turf Club to help plug the great "KQ Homegrown" CD. The Accident boys' new album, "Full Moon Night," deserves raves for its sweet, homeward-bound vibe and 12 boyish heartache tunes.
Even after breaking up the band almost three years ago, singers Mike Brady and Quillan Roe rekindle the kind of natural chemistry on "Full Moon" that neither has yet been able to match in their solo endeavors. From the rollicking, bass-slapping opener "The Prize" to sullen laments such as "Scary Slumber," the disc sounds like stripped Old '97s or Weezer doing acoustic Gram Parsons covers. Yep, those are good qualities.
This must be some kind of first: a New Year's Eve CD-release concert by a band that broke up two years ago. But this second annual reunion gig (with many members returning from out of state) wouldn't mean a whit if singers Quillan Roe and Mike Brady didn't still fit each other like an old shoe (no, they didn't break up over which one was the foot). On Full Moon Night (OBT), which they recorded in 2000, their banjo rollick edges toward the acoustic balladry and indie rock that would mark their subsequent solo efforts. As ever, they fear love's wrath more than God's, and they sing about both with unusual candor. Last year's show sold out, so get there early. 21+. $5. 9:00 p.m TUE DEC 31
If New Year's Eve is one of the few nights of the year that you go out and see live music, then have I got the article for you. . . .
Truth is, regular clubgoers know where to look and what to expect at New Year's music events in town. You probably don't need to be told that you'll hear rootsy, twangy, beer-guzzler music at the Vibro Champs' show at Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis or Accident Clearinghouse's reunion gig at the Turf Club in St. Paul -- both a wonderfully fair $5, by the way.
Accident Clearinghouse is the best swing/country/rockabilly band around. Their page includes bio, press, upcoming shows, mp3s, everything you could ask for and more.
Indie-pop melodies given hellfire and bluegrass treatments. God's favorite band.
Written In Rope
With their new album, Accident Clearinghouse has come full circle. The sextet is now pared down to the original trio line-up (with a few guests), and the strong swing style of the last album has been replaced with something closer to the trio's original sound, one more rooted in country. The group's slightly quirky style does encompass other genres, but most of the songs draw their inspiration from 50's-style country, in spite of soft-core vocals that don't have much in common with that era's country stars. "You Made A Boy Out Of A Man" reverses the process of the coming-of-age tale, while "Got To Move On" skews the rambling song. "Rails Of Love" and "Starlight Ranch" are take-offs on railroad and cowboy songs, respectively.
Written In Rope
This Midwestern clearinghouse of classic country and western swing is no accident. The Accident Clearinghouse sound is achieved with a minimum of fuss, and the basic trio of Quillan Roe (vocals, acoustic guitar), Mike Brady (vocals, electric guitar) and Jeff Tranberry (electric and acoustic bass, various percussion) are only sparingly assisted by extra instrumentation like banjo, pedal steel and fiddle. This no-frills approach lends credence to the traditional country feel of the band's material, but at times they end up just sounding a bit too polite, like BR5-49 on their best behavior. The strongest moments are "Got To Move On" and "I've Been There Too," ones that lean toward a slap bass rockabilly sound - but the band travels well through some mellow western swing tunes, too. Although their name sounds like it was lifted off some antique mercantile shop, Accident Clearinghouse have matured into a stellar purveyor of stripped down arrangements and maudlin songwriting, borrowing from the same sources as Rex Hobart, The Steam Donkeys and Robbie Fulks with equal aplomb. (Accident Clearinghouse, PO Box 41271, Plymouth, MN 55441-0271)
Music picks for New Year's Eve
There's something about spending the first few minutes of a new year with a great live band that amplifies the memory for years to come. The only problem this year is that you can only be in one place at that moment, with several top choices. Nevertheless, the highest recommendation must go to classic-country crooners AccidentClearinghouse, performing their final concert on New Year's Eve after eight years, four studio albums (plus two forthcoming) and heaps of acclaim. The Clearinghouse boys always have been underdogs on the local country market, but they're arguably the best of the bunch, boasting an understated audio/visual style and sweet, spare songs that bleed heartland sincerity. AC plans to go out in style, reuniting core members Quillan Roe, Mike Brady and Jeff Tranberry (pictured) with several ex-sidemen, and delving into a comprehensive retrospective of the band's career. Likely to sell out early. (10 p.m. Sun., Turf Club, 1601 University Av., St. Paul. 651-647-0486.
Published Friday, December 29, 2000
By Blood and Marriage
Rare is the independent band that manages to be both publicity savvy, image-conscious and self-sufficient, while also being remarkably talented and musically inspired. Accident Clearhouse is one of the rare exceptions. By Blood And Marriage is actually the sextet's third self-released album, an 18-tracker of deftly played, smartly written, and often very tongue-in-cheek, honky-tonking fun. Each band member is an adept multi-instrumentalist, peppering the jamboree with the sounds of banjo, pedal-steel, mandolin, standup bass and theremin. Guest players also contribute horns, accordion, fiddle, piano and more to the mix. The bonus is that the band's presentation is impeccable: From the cover art, which mimics '50s design, to the band's sharp Western suits and bolo ties, to its snappy Web site and fan club offers, Accident Clearinghouse is a hidden treasure.
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 623 - Jun 21, 1999
Accident Clearinghouse: Studies In Contrast (OBT Records)
In the land where Lake Wobegon meets the Mall of America, Accident Clearinghouse seems perfectly indigenous. Hailing from a prefab suburb north of the Twin Cities, the group is comprised of six twentysomethings fronted by Quillan Roe, an art-school grad who was weaned on metal and punk. but there they are, in bolo ties and rhinestones, making honky-tonk music from the old traditions of country, swing, and a little boogie-woogie.
"It's no wonder we come off as a bastard hybrid," reflects Roe. Since forming in 1993 from the musical collaborations of Roe and classmates Jeff Tranberry and Mike Brady at St. Paul's College of Visual Arts, contrasts have come to define Accident Clearinghouse.
The band's evolving sound is a case in point. Volume I: Saginaw Sweetheart, their 1996 debut, evoked the country brooding of Son Volt. "It was our most personal album. The stories were basically true and reflected the stuff I was slogging through at the time," recalls Roe. But is was not the particular brand of honky-tonk to which Accident Clearinghouse aspired - not the high volume, show-stopping numbers one might expect from a quirkey-looking six-piece band.
After Volume II: Absolute Collision and a live album that sound finally emerged on their fourth album, released earlier this year under the title By Blood and Marriage: The Accident Clearinghouse Story. "We wanted to have more fun and show our audiences a better time," explains Roe.
Musically, this meant adding horns, swing beats and jazz influences to a foundation that remained squarely grounded in country. Lyrically, it meant taking the risk of occasional silliness, evident in the sing-along tracks "Do You Like The Hula?" and "If I Said You Were A Nurse (Could I Look Into Your Purse)?".
From a songwriter who can talk intelligently about hip-hop and Gershwin in the same breath, the musical challenge was engaging. Roe says he relied partially on skills he picked up in art school, when he first learned how to paint. "As I studied more and more artist," says Roe, "all of their various approaches got mixed together, strained through my own ideas. I do the same thing with music and songwriting."
A growing ensemble of band mates is giving Roe greater compositional choices. The current lineup includes Brady on vocals, electric guitar and banjo, Matt Marohl on pedal steel, Rufus Moon on washboard, Kevin Riach on drums, Roe on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, and Tranberry on upright bass.
As for the band's unusual name, which was taken form the mental collision of a traffic report and a sideways glance at a Publishers Clearinghouse envelope: "It doesn't mean anything," claims Roe. Then again to borrow a phrase from Ed McMahon, they may already be a winner.
- No Depression #24 November - December 1999
By Blood and Marriage
What is left for a record that takes you from heaven to hell in the first two songs ("In Heaven There Is No Beer" and "H-E-L-L Bound")? The remaining 16 cuts cover everything in between with thrashing strings and shaky snare. This wonderful string band plays new songs written in the old style: sin, drunkenness and murder. Musically, the band does a amazing job of staying within the confines of their genre while exploring the great range of that style. They add a few light-hearted touches, including the Dr. Seuss inspired ranchero song, "If I Said You Were A Nurse...." Instead of distracting from an otherwise serious project the dashes of humor serve to give this record-a-large as life feeling. The disc is a perfect example of the rebirth of string band music, furthermore, this disc is a classic by almost any standard.
- Dirty Linen #85 ~ December '99/'January '00
By Blood and Marriage
Very good and original country-blue-grass-honky tonk from this Minnesota based band. On the scene since 1993 this band is starting to make it's mark. This one also has a world class booklet. This one's a winner and the Clearinghouse should continue to make it's mark on the cultural landscape.
- Blue Suede News #48 Fall '99
By Blood and Marriage
Don't you hate bands who pack tons of songs on one CD, all above average, and all original? You don't! I don't either. Accident Clearinghouse does that on this CD and their two other releases. On these three CDs you get about 70 songs, all appealing in some way or other. This CD being their newest and junior effort, I would have to say that their High School days are over and graduate school is in the horizon. This 18-track CD is filled with songs of love, loss, beer drinkin', hula girls, trains, nurses, and a whole lot of fun! This band has really filled some holes they had on their first releases, and started to show more than just promise. I met the lead Singer Quillen Roe during my prison term in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. I saw them play once, and thought I would never hear from them again. Boy, was I wrong! Roe has a real passion for the music he plays and loves, and he is not afraid to try something new if he likes what may come out of it. With "Blood and Marriage," the band tries quite a few different things, and I think they pull them all off. I predict that if they are not a cover story on No Depression within a year, then that rag is not doing its job. This band is more than alt-country, but it is going to be the alt-country folks who cherish them. They appeal to people who like Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons, Johnny Horton, Vincent Fernandez, Asylum Street Spankers, Lefty Frizzell, Flatts & Scruggs, and real good music. So, if you like some rockin' country, some slow country, and little bluegrass then please pick up this CD. For those of you in the Texas area, watch for a very short tour in October; I'll be at every show.
Get dressed up and find yourself a dance partner! Banjo, pedal steel, mandolin and washboards accent stand-up bass, guitar and vocals for a country and western-swing jamboree that is as accomplished as it is modern. Accident Clearinghouse score a direct hit for fans of Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, Robbie Fulks, or Wayne Hancock
The group's third and latest release,By Blood and Marriage: The Accident Clearinghouse Story, is a delightful romp, more classic- than neo-country, with just the right mix of historical reverence and contemporary charm. "In Heaven There Is No Beer" is a gleeful honky-tonk rave-up, and "Do You Like The Hula" conjures images of a production number on Hee-Haw where Don Ho crashes a Derailers show.
The core members of the band met while students at the College of Visual Arts in St Paul MN and over the years have flirted with playing everything from post-punk to hip-hop. Somewhere along the line however, a Bob Wills album managed to make itself heard and changed things for good. As they combine musical styles as diverse as western swing, country, boogie-woogie, rockabilly and tejano, the band's versatility and instrumental chops reveal themselves to be their ace in the hole.
After 3 years of touring the band has garnered a press kit full of genuine praise and widespread radio airplay. They have gigged with the likes of the Brian Setzer Orchestra, BR5-49, the Damnations TX and 6-String Drag, winning over many new fans along the way.
Western Swing is a highly eclectic early form of Country music. It took traditional string bands and incorporated a Jazzy Big Band sound and elements of 30s popular music such as show tunes.
Tex Williams and Milton Brown were prominent practitioners of this enduring genre, but Texan Bob Wills is its undisputed figurehead. Recently, bands such as Asleep at the Wheel and Accident Clearinghouse have spearheaded a Western Swing revival.
I'm So Lonesome I Could Smile
Honky-tonkers Accident Clearinghouse create a country for punks
From only a glance, you might think you know what to expect from honky-tonk swingers Accident Clearinghouse. The playfully cartoonish sleeve of their recently released third album shows the six band-members looking wistfully at the album title, By Blood and Marriage: The Accident Clearinghouse Story. And the album's first number, "In Heaven There Is No Beer," does nothing to dispel the impression of a band working the sunny side of the eight-lane highway that divides good-time rockin' and No Depression moping in the y'allternative nation.
By Blood And Marriage **** 4 out of 5
Voor zover ik weet had deze plaat moeten verschijnen onder de titel Walking Heartattack, maar ik veronderstel dat de jongens op tijd hebben ontdekt dat een 'marriage' wel dezelfde of een nog sterkere invloed uitoefent op de tikker. Nu, aanhangers van een regelmatige hartslag wezen gewaarschuwd, de inhoud van dit plaatje werkt niet bepaald rustgevend. Dit zeskoppige draakje spuwt een hoogst aanstekelijke mengeling rootsmuziekjes zonder weerga. Een pak songs drijven op een stevige dosis speed, gelukkig gedraaid van koeien- en paardendrollen en dus gezond. Of het nu een lijntje honky tonk, western swing, country of rockabilly is, geen nood, dit zootje ongeregeld maakt er een soepje van waarin het woelig pootje-baden is. In Heaven There Is No Beer, H-E-L-L Bound, Train Song, Do You Like The Hula, Cannibal Man, Griddle-Cake Joey, On The Nature Of ThingsÉ allemaal songs die de meest stijve hark doen dubbel plooien, is het niet door de levendigheid, dan wel door de humor. Lonely, Broken-hearted Fools herbergt een poppy hookje, General Washington is pure Jonathan Richman, Mr. Fever is een op hol geslagen honky tonk met blazers, tierend door Dixieland en If I Said You Were A Nurse is zo'n bordersong waar de plaatselijke-schone-pop wordt voor opgeblazen.Volgende maand vertoef ik aan die 'border', eens vragen aan Accident Clearinghouse of ze de boel daarna willen komen opkuisen. (MN) (www.accidentclearinghouse.com)
As far as I'm concerned, this record should have been called "Walking Heart Attack," but I imagine that these guys found out time that marriage can have even a stronger influence on your ticker. Fans who are used to a regular heart beat - look out - the contents of this record are not exactly relaxing. This six-headed dragon spits an flammable mixture of roots music without equal. A stack of songs floating on a heavy dosage of speed, luckily twisted from cow and horse turds - thus healthy. Further they get even the stiffest person going with their humor. It doesn't matter if it's honky-tonk, western swing, country or rockabilly - this group of loosely organized raucous musicians cook up a delicious pot of bubbling soup worthy of dipping ones toes into.
By Blood and Marriage
Accident Clearinghouse seems too damn young to write songs like old souls, but just look at 'em go. On their third album, they pack 18 tracks into 50 spellbinding minutes, romping through vibrant juke joint tunes all but guaranteed to put a smile on your kisser. A "Wooly Bully" countdown of "uno, dos, tres, cuatro" kicks off "H-E-L-L Bound," a first-person tale of a man who's proud to be the biggest asshole on the planet ("I act like a monkey when I make sweet love/ If I see you on crutches gonna give you a shove"). When you hear "Lonely, Broken-Hearted Fools" you'll be checking the writer's credit for Carl Perkins' name. This band even brings back novelty songs, and in plentiful supply, too. "Do You Like the Hula?" is a staple of AC's live shows, and it seems to take its unabashed inspiration from the Elvis movie, "Blue Hawaii." "Cannibal Man" sports riotous lyrics and teams an out-of-control theremin with a catchy, descending stand-up bass line. My favorite, though, has to be "Griddle Cake Joey," on which Quillan Roe sings, "When I first met him he was on stack six/ Maple syrup a flowin' and of course a side of grits." As corny as all of this might seem, you'd have to have a cold, cold heart to resist the revelry.
But the most impressive moment of all might just be "If I Said You Were a Nurse." It's pure Tex-Mex, a jukebox song on the order of Freddy Fender, given extra luster by a Herb Alpert - like trumpet treatment and some comically dramatized Spanish lyrics. Accident Clearinghouse has a song for every occasion, and musically they're as sharp as the bolo ties and sports coats they wear on stage. It's hard not to love 'em.
By Blood and Marriage
This Minneapolis quintet's delightful third album further demonstrates their strong grip on the pop-neo-country-Americana hybrid, while confidently taking their music into new territorities. Mexican rhythms slink through "If I Said You Were A Nurse," and goofy lounge informs "Cannibal Man." Overall, there's a greater emphasis on swing; for more pure twang, try "H-E-L-L Bound" or "Ain't Got No Sweet Baby." The musicianship has improved greatly since their first record, Saginaw Sweetheart. The songwriting has also gained scope, as have the group's vocals®¢ harmonies and shout-outs mark nearly every number. A threesome of guest horn players from the Hot Head Swing Band adds just the right touch where it's needed. It all gels remarkably well, thanks to the Clearinghouse boys' lively (if a bit nerdy) humor and joie de vivre. I'll take this stuff over the dreadful seriousness of Son Volt any day. (Want to hear more? Dip into the recent EP Live at Bryant-Lake Bowl.)
By Blood and Marriage
I received this CD-R copy of AC's third album right after Christmas, just in time for the New Year's party. I can't think of any better way to start the new year than accompanied by Accident Clearinghouse. While their first two albums, Saginaw Sweetheart and Absolute Collision(see below), was genuine Honky Tonk, the boys also delve into swing territory with their next album. Especially on "The Hula", where theysound like they've been playing the clubs of New Orleans for years, with it's sing-a-long chorus and swinging horns. "Ain't Got No SweetBaby" is an instant classic, with it's traditional instrumentation and may be the best trad. country song I've heard since "Bye-Bye Pain", the opening track on their previous album. "General Washington" and "In A Whisper" are "pop" country songs, not too far from what Chris Hillman and, to a certain extent, Robbie Fulks have been doing. The perhaps biggest surprise on this eight-track preview is "If I Said You Were A Nurse", where they sound like a full-blown mariachi band (think Los Lobos with a sense of humor), with obligatory verse in Spanish (have no idea what it means, but it sure sounds good). If I were to draw a conclusion after listening to this preview, it would have to be that the band sound more mature, both in their songwriting and in their performance, much due to extensive live playing. Accident Clearinghouse is still the best Honky Tonk/Hillbilly Swing band out there, and "I'll stand on BR5-49's soft drink table and say that..." (to paraphrase someone really Famous). If the rest of the songs are half as good as these, we have a true classic
By Blood and Marriage
All those in search of knee-shaking, head-bobbing, pseudo-country fun, raise your hands. Accident Clearinghouse is just what you're looking for. These local boys' third album has tripped the secret honky-tonk lover in me, kicking out over fifty swinging minutes of country chaos jams on By Blood and Marriage: The Accident Clearinghouse Story. They even have a few surf guitar influenced tracks (such as "Cannibal Man") that might interest Los Straightjackets fans.
The more off the wall the lyrics are, the more fun the songs become. The call and response routine, the lyrics, and the silly playful vocals in "Do You Like The Hula?" made me laugh out loud. These songs have been in my head all week, and without my copy of the disc I'd be going through some wicked withdrawal.
By Blood and Marriage
This sextet from Minnesota trample that delightful trail that bands like BR5-49, Big Sandy and Bad Livers usually exist on. It's that Hillbilly/Honky Tonkin' Swingin' kinda thing complete with washboard, doghouse bass and witty humor. They even stretch the boundries some to rock ' roll and other diverse genres. Nothing too serious here, just good musicianship and fun songs.
Musical Highlights at the free stages at the State Fair
No local country outfit is more prolific than Accident Clearinghouse, which has released three CDs in the past two years. These youthful guys from Champlin respect old-school Appalachian sounds but give 'em a new-school twist with plenty of wit and humor.
- Minneapolis Star Tribune Sunday August 22, 1999
(BR5-49)... remind me of a Twin Cities band called Accident Clearinghouse, who are arguably the hottest thing in town nowadays.
Volume II : Absolute Collision
If you thought the Carpetbaggers, Big Sandy or BR5-49 were the future of genuine honky tonk and rockabilly, you better think again. Accident Clearinghouse's second self-released album, (their first one, Volume I: Saginaw Sweetheart is just as brilliant) is precisely how honky tonk should sound in the 90's: smart, funny, charming and authentic. Every song on this album is a gem, and there's 18 of them. From the opener, Bye, Bye Pain to the closing track By The Light Of The Moon, the band never fails. Sure, there are traces of Lefty Frizzell, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buddy Holly and Hank Williams Sr., but unlike new bands like BR5-49, Accident Clearinghouse know how to write a good song; This is the genuine article. If you're getting only one honky tonk album this year, Absolute Collision is the one. Then go out and buy their first. Both albums are available from Miles Of Music.
Volume II : Absolute Collision
Listening to Minnesota's oddly named Accident Clearinghouse ought to remind country music fans of a time when those with the urge to pick and grin didn't need to travel to Nashville to make music, but could just sit on the front porch and testify to life's hard-yet-humorous times. With Volume II: Absolute Collision, this quartet offers up, in the famous words of the Blues Brothers, both country and western music, and they do it mighty nicely.
A glitz-free, down-home, roots-heavy release such as this should give real pause to country music fans of today. Why, they should ask themselves, has country music in the '90s tossed away the banjo and the understated production, in favor of slick, urban cowboy pop? Why, they might continue, is the best country music being made by bands like Accident Clearinghouse, a group of Bohemian slackers in suits and cowboy hats, a bunch of young guys with their hearts in the right place and their songwriting pens tipped in tribute to old school masters like Hank Williams?
If more people were willing to peel off the shiny veneer of "new country" to expose its withered heart, and in turn listen to the honest, yet still very '90s, music of country bands like Accident Clearinghouse, there'd be less musical heartbreak in Nashville.
Unlike others in the so-called Americana movement (the late Uncle Tupelo and its spin-offs Wilco and Son Volt; the Scud Mountain Boys), Accident Clearinghouse doesn't wallow too much in heartbreak and depression. Rather, the boys in the band -- guitarist Quillen Roe, bassist Jeff Tranberry, drummer Scott Berndt and multi-instrumentalist Mike Brady -- prefer to give people something to tap their toes to while they drown their sorrows. From the opener, "Bye-Bye, Pain," and on through "Loraine" and the closer, "By the Light of the Moon," Accident Clearinghouse puts a smile on the face of love, pain, religion and other domestic concerns.
As in every musical genre, the good stuff always bubbles up from the underground. We hope the boys of Accident Clearinghouse never lose sight of their roots, and never set their eyes on Music City, USA.
Volume I : Saginaw Sweetheart & Volume II : Absolute Collision
Two great collections of smart honky-tonk sounds built around the big upright bass of Mike Brady and Jeff Tranberry. Accident Clearinghouse occasionally echoes the sound of fellow Minnesotans The Carpetbaggers, but is distinguished by a punchier delivery and weaving banjo patterns. Vocals by Quillan Roe are influenced by Buddy Holly and the Cure's Robert Smith. Lyrically, they trace out the underbelly of rockabilly--not much self satisfied swagger, a lot of incompetence, failure, and insecurity. The first disc contains 19 songs of drinking, loving, losing and salvation--portrayed in the wonderful line, "the Savior is thinking 'Buy that man a beer.'" Most of the songs, written by Roe and Brady, are thoughtful exercises in bending words to sounds. The second volume of songs, Absolute Collision, is an even stronger collection of songs, including the flawless "Loraine," "Misguided Hand," and "You are a Sweet Rose." The latter offers the beautifully suggestive line, "Cigarettes taste sweeter in your hand." The 37 songs on these two discs cover a lot of Americana ground skillfully and enjoyably. No matter what ground you stand upon, you are not going to find a better collection of All-New Country and Western Hits.
This stand-up bass/guitar/banjo/percussion band has a sound that is both contemporary and also deeply rooted in 50's Americana. A traditional sound that mixes folk and country together. Produced by the band and Jon Tranberry it delivers 19 songs in just over an hours worth of music. Some of the vocals remind a little of Loudan Wainright III. It's sparse but effective music. Try Counting Me Out or 4am in January, songs that contrast the tempos they use.
My freshman year of highschool I fell prey to one of the greatest ills known to man: 90's Country Music. Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Lorrie Morgan, John Anderson, Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson, etc. I'm going to take the stance that it wasn't so much that I liked country music, more like it was what was readily available. Which means, I was sick and tired of MTV and their continual programming of everything but music videos. You see, CMT (country music television) played videos back to back all day and night with no attempts to throw in a Real World Nashville. Further, the country radio station wasn't plagued with commercials as the other stations were, not that they had much to offer anyway. I was tuning in for the 12 songs back to back regardless of the genre. Eventually, it didn't matter how many continuous minutes of music they played since it all pretty much sucked. We're still in the 90's and, yes, country music still sucks.
That is, commercial country music sucks. There's a huge subculture of underground country music that is, simply put, brilliant. For those of you in the "know", don't kid yourself, friends, throw the name Americana or Roots Rock on it, when you hit play you're hearing country music. Sadder than any twangy tear-jerker released by Mr. Brooks, is the fact that these artists will never be played on commercial, pre-programmed, satellite-fed, country music radio. Just like you're not going to hear Archers of Loaf or Jack Logan anytime soon on your favorite commercial "alternative" station, you're probably not going to hear Son Volt, The Jayhawks, or Accident Clearinghouse on any commercial Country station. This is unfortunate because country radio is passing up on tons of great music that could spur life into an otherwise dead genre.
One of the bands with more life and vigor to raise all the dead in Nashville is Accident Clearinghouse. Saginaw Sweetheart and Absolute Collision are the two critically acclaimed gems released thus far with a third album on the way. Formed in 1992 as a three piece, the band consisted of Quillan Roe (vocals/guitar), Mike Brady (vocals/guitar/banjo), and Jeff Tranberry (slap bass). AC went through some personal changes but continues to contain the three original members as well as Rufus Moon on washboard and Spanish vocals (muy bien) and Kevin Riach on drums.
Roe wrote most of the tracks on Saginaw Sweetheart while working as a machinist. The mind-numbing work didn't stop him from composing, however. "Every time that I found myself with a break, I'd go over and write down what I was thinking on a piece of scratch paper," said Roe. A year after Saginaw Sweetheart was written, AC released Absolute Collision. The albums carry the tags Vol. I and Vol. II respectively. "We thought that putting that on the album would trick people into thinking we've been around for a long time," jokes Roe, "a Best Of' kind of deal."
Although the two albums aren't compilations of Greatest Hits from previous works, they might as well be. Rare is the track that doesn't either make the listener choke up or feel like stomping their feet. A combined 37 tracks of pure country bliss.
The Minnesota Music Association has nominated Accident Clearinghouse for not only Best Country Album of The Year but also Best Country Band of The Year. The nominations helped the band land a spot on Mary Lucia's radio show on Zone 105 which features local artists. Along with two great albums, AC puts on a great live show. The band headlines regularly at The Turf Club in St. Paul, Foxfire Lounge in Minneapolis, 7th St. Entry, and Karl's Coffee.
That's right! After an energy-packed appearance in October, Accident Clearinghouse is coming back to Morris for another night of fun-filled mayhem. On Saturday September 21st Karl's Coffee is going to play host to Accident Clearinghouse as they bring their barnyard kickin', cow tippin', old-time country jamboree to Morris. Their last show was a blast and this upcoming event has all the makings for a grade A quality hoe down. The front tables are going to be set off to the side to open up the dance floor and I'm inviting anyone out there to join me in a two-step. Step one, step two, step one, step two, step two, D'oh! This is not to be missed.
Quillan Roe has expressed his interest in returning to our humble town and Geoff's (owner of Karl's) humble abode. It seems AC, as well as countless other bands that have been through Morris and played at Karl's, enjoyed the venue and the crowd.
"We're all looking forward to coming back and playing. "We had a great time last time and the crowd was really into it. "The night I got back from playing in Morris, I gave Geoff a call and said let's do it again.'"
Also on Saturday, November 21st be sure to tune into the 4pm-6pm special installment of Heart Attack on the Prairie where Accident Clearinghouse will be coming in to do "whatever the hell they want to do." Which will include interviews, playing their music and music they enjoy, and perhaps even a live song or two. Tune in, find out, and I'll see you at the show.
Volume II : Absolute Collision
On their second volume--18 songs, to be exact-- of eclectic old-time honky-tonk and swingin' rockabilly, the young Accident Clearinghouse men have managed to capture my skewed country heart.
Right off the bat, lead singer Quillan Roe's old-school vocals (complete with charming whine) and Mike Brady's down-home banjo playin' set the front porch scene. Highlights include the sad banjo-laced "Loraine, a song about a worried husband watching his wife turn into an alcoholic; the Buddy Holly styled rock'n'roll "Trash-Talkin' Mama, featuring lyrics that make me proud to be a woman ("And she's the kind of girl the was made for me to love/Her sweet pretty face and a mouth like a trucker); and my favorite "Engine #9, about a volunteer fireman who is always saved by the bell.
Absolute Collision, proves the Brady, Roe, Jeff Tranberry, and Scott Berndt ( the drummer at the time of the recording) are a strong presence in the ever growing crop of Twin Cities alt-country bands.
Originally appeared as an album review in A&E, 1998 © The Minnesota Daily.
Accident Clearinghouse - Honky-Tonk Outcasts
"We don't really play in real honky tonks, Accident Clearinghouse songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mike Brady admonishes with a half-grin on his angular vaguely Buddy Holly-esque face. "We'd get our asses kicked by the regulars. The neo-trad picker, who shares songwriting and (occasional) vocal duties with college buddy Quillan Roe, would seem somewhat out of place in the rough and tumble world of roadhouse shuffles and barroom brawls. With old school spectacles, fancy duds and an affinity for Fugazi and Pogues records, it's a lot easier to picture Brady and the other members of AC presiding over night of smarmy indie rock elitism than attacking a huge stand-up bass, a washboard, guitars, banjos and mandolins while cracking out tunes like "The Night Daddy That Got His Gun and "I'm a Killer."
"Jeff plays Farrar on the stereo/I wonder how far I can go/It's a sad song and I think of you..." So goes a particular turn of phrase in AC's tune "High Mileage." This pointed reference to Jay Farrar of Uncle Tupelo/Son-Volt fame is typical of the grace the quintet shows in dealing with those inevitable comparisons. The twentysomething folk flame-keepers (including washboard master Tim Armstrong, string-man Jeff Tranberry and drummer Kevin Riach), who possess a keen appreciation for the No Depression camps, are determined to continue in their current style, remaining true to the original form of American music, be it folk, bluegrass or dirty ole honky tonk.
"I was raised on Doc Watson, The Red Clay Ramblers, Willie Nelson, a lot of folk influences," says Roe. "My parents didn't play instruments, but they played those records around the house When we started this band, I wanted to make music that I was into at the time, like Fugazi and Superchunk, and try to find a way to do that acoustically. I didn't know what we were doing - but it was bad in a different way. We couldn't get through a song without cracking up."
After college, the songs began to coalesce, and with the help of Tranberry, who owns a recording studio, the group sculpted their 1996 debut, Saginaw Sweetheart, on their own label, OBT. The record, with the printed addition, Volume I, clocks in at over 60 minutes and carries 19 songs, most of which are under four minutes. "I agree with the philosophy that you should say what you gotta and get out as quick as possible," confirms Brady.
Releasing material on their own label and shuckin' the records themselves has allowed the group to not only save thousands of dollars in overhead, but has also allowed them to retain creative control over their work. though they do admit to having written a few more up-tempo tunes for their latest, Volume II: Absolute Collision (available sometime this month) to satisfy rowdy bar crowds hungry for honky tonk hoe-downs. However, like their more worldly musical compatriots, the Scud Mountain Boys, the band's true strength lies in the subtle word-play and shy, nuance-filled rhythms of their music. Whether it's in the raw, emotional confessionals of "Loraine" or "Your Angel Above" or the true-to-life horror of "The Night That Daddy Got His Gun" (A Lilli Schull-esque story of a girl from Bemidji who was raped, and the vengeance her father took on the perpetrators), Roe and his genuine Gen-X jug band capture the same emotions and built-in country beliefs that their forebears, from Doc Watson to the Louvin Brothers, played havoc with so many decades ago.
"I just want some real chicken wire," laughs Brady. "Just like the Blues Brothers - real chicken wire, then I think we'll have made it."
Originally appeared in Pulse, March 4th 1998 © Pulse.
Accident Clearinghouse - Editorial Article
Instead of talk shows, people should be listening to and supporting live music, which I was lucky enough to do twice last week.
On Thursday night, I responded to a call from a proud who had a son playing in a country music band in Watkins. I was skeptical, as I am with anything outside my comfort zone, fearing a big band, big lights, big hats, big shoes and big egos combining for a night of syrupy, hiccuping, pre-fab, line-dancing, repeat the chorus 17 times Garth wannabe muzak.
Also true to form, with anything I'm skeptical about, I was wrong. One player hauled in a large stand-up bass, and another brought in a washboard. I could see they were probably huge Garth fans - meaning Hudson, not Brooks. Their name, Accident Clearinghouse, also showed they were steering away from the middle of the road.
Bass player Jeff Tranberry has local ties through the Tranberrys, of course, and the Schultes, so with relatives showing up, the place filled up. They launched into acoustic-based original tunes compared by some writers to Wilco and Son-Volt, or real "Americana" country music. They're a hit in Minnesota, and were nominated twice in the state's music competition. It's a state rich in musical tradition, with Bob Dylan hailing from there, and the Jayhawks, Honeydogs, Johnny Lang being among the artists in the competition.
The lead singer, Quillan Roe, sounds like Jimmy Ibbotsen of the Dirt Band, and is a big fan of "early" Sun-era Elvis, and Tom Waits, which means he's got the same odd taste in music as I do. but the most interesting piece of of trivia that impressed me was that Tranberry knows the actor who was in my favorite scene in "Fargo" - the deputy in the driveway snow scooping scene. "Looks like a cold front, eh?"
Originally appeared in The South Benton Star-Press, May 6th 1998 © The South Benton Star-Press.
Hot Tickets: Saturday, March 18th, 1998
Accident Clearinghouse CD Release Bash at the Turf Club - With Bakersfield-via-Tennesee-hill country stylins' we ain't heard in these parts since Grandma hid the washboard and Grandpa traded in his fiddle for a Moog, Quillan Roe and Co. deliver genuine, All-American honky tonk swagger with just a touch of uptown class. Their first CD, Volume I: Saginaw Sweetheart, spawned simple, shining gems like "The Night that Daddy Got His Gun" and "What Was Your Name In The States?" Volume II: Absolute Collision is a brand new, even tastier batch of home-grown pickin'. These mountain spirits are clearly coming into their own. With George Jones running his own talk show on cable and Johnny Cash running his own ads flipping off Nashville, Roe and his front porch pickers couldn'ta chose a better time to remind us what true country is really all about - a little bit o' soul.
Hot Tickets: Saturday, May 11th, 1998
The Derailers with Accident Clearinghouse at First Avenue - Austin Texas's Derailers are coming back to town, so all you swing dancers get ready to tear it up. Billed as the greatest live act out of Austin today, The Derailers are in the business of bringin' the house down. Tony Villanueva and Co. are Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, 90's style. Their charisma, tight sound and solidly in synch stage maneuvers are more than worth seeing, even is your not a dancin' fool. Meanwhile, Accident Clearinghouse shows keep gettin' bigger and bigger, as tons of new converts are heard to yell toward the stage, "Yes we like the hula!"
A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock 'N' Roll
Accident Clearinghouse, the new band on the block, consists of Jeff Tranberry, Quillan Roe, Mike Brady, Kevin Riach and Tim Armstrong. Roe and Brady write most of the material, tending to mix multiple musical influences: Roe offers his bluegrass and traditional country background and Brady tosses in his Minutemen and Sonic Youth influences. But they, too, are apprehensive about considering themselves a country act.
"You can't go up to someone and say we are a country band because they [will] think we sound like Garth Brooks or something like that," Tranberry says.
Playing with acts ranging from goth to punk, Accident Clearinghouse has grown accustomed to feeling slightly out of place; they take advantage of this awkwardness by increasing their fan base.
"We don't fit into anything," Riach says. "We're a bunch of misanthropic heartthrobs."
I just had to write to let you know that I recently purchased your CD "Saginaw Sweethearet, Vol1" (from Miles of Music no less) and have proclaimed it my personal 1997 CD of the year. You beat out the new Whiskeytown CD "Stranger's Almanac" and also the Old 97's "Too Far to Care". I really like your tunes and there are so many of them!! I bet you have a vault full of them ready to release.
So, the questions on my mind are:
- Do you ever play live and if so, do you have any plans to come to central Iowa (eg Des moines or Ames or Iowa City). If so - would you send me a list of dates and clubs, I would love to see you live.
- Do you have any other CD's available and if so how can I buy them.
Volume I : Saginaw Sweetheart & Volume II : Absolute Collision
This band from Minnesota makes some rip-roaring good music with quirky, alternative vocals. It sounds to me like The Jayhawks with a bit more of a country swing and less harmony. Released as two separate CD packages, both volumes contain a mixture of fast-moving guitar-oriented songs about love and broken promises along with an occasional small-town daddy-get-your-gun style ballad. I definitely prefer Volume 1. It has a slightly more alternative feel, with vocal touches of the old Athens band Let's Active and the "tortured artist" quality of Palace Music. However, the obvious influence here is Uncle Tupelo, which I didn't realize until I heard track 7, I Got Friends. It sounds like something Jay Farrar could have written in his early days. And, many of the 19 songs have an upbeat Wilco sound. Besides that, one song even references Jay Farrar.
Volume 2 is a bit more country, and the songs are less memorable. While the instrumentation is better, the songwriting is less inspired: "So we set off for the Coast, with a kiss and a toast" sings lead singer Quillan Roe, making me wonder if coast and toast should ever be used in a rhyme.
Still, either volume would make a great edition to any collector's library as an example of band just feeling its roots and getting started. Nominated for Best Country act at the 1998 Minnesota Music awards, this is one band to keep an eye on.
Live at Bryant Lake Bowl
What we got here friends and neighbors are two discs from Accident Clearinghouse, a band from the frozen wastes of Minnesota. You know, up there where the midget formally known as Prince hails from. There is no purple funk on these discs, Although I suspect some purple substances might have been used in the making of these records. The first one is an EP that comes to us from a live broadcast at Zone 105's "Popular Creeps" from the Bryant Lake Bowl. It's my favorite with 5 songs and three interviews. Accident Clearinghouse, known from now on as AC so I don't have to type so much, consists of brothers Quillan Roe (acoustic guitar & vocals) and Rufus Moon (washboard, maracas, triangle, vocals), along with Mike Brady (guitar, vocals), Jeff Tranberry (Upright bass), and Kevin Riach (drums). There's an all acoustic, rawer sound on the Ep than on the second disc. The vocals and harmonies come across much clearer.
The second disc doesn't suck, it's just not as strong as the first EP. The addition of electric guitar more often takes away from, rather than aid's to AC's sound. One of the good things about the second disc is the inclusion of Liner notes. I can't tell who is singing where. One vocalist I like, the other is weak and I don't care for. The songs are witty and intelligent although at times the arrangements are lacking. The best cuts are Lorraine, a song about an alcoholic wife, Vision, about a man who is either a visionary or completely crazy. The song's intro has a simple chord progression that sounds exactly like Alabama's Dixieland Delight. Misguided Hand is song about an expectant father who is terrified of fucking up his new daughters life, a fear all fathers have. There's lot's of good songs here, I just don't care for the way this disc was mixed, or the total sound.
Accident Clearinghouse, a truly fine band from the Twin Cities, has announced that they're calling it quits after 8 years together. Tom and I both liked them a lot, and saw several of their live shows at Karl's Coffee (which is now for sale) in Morris. Tom is the proud owner of at one autographed Accident Clearinghouse CD, and we have several others sans autographs.
Last fall I taught two sections of our First Year Seminar course at UMM, with my sections focusing on the diversity of music from the American south recording in the late 20's and early 30's. Accident Clearinghouse kindly agreed to meet with my classes on a Saturday afternoon while they were in town for a show that night, and the discussion was really excellent and appropriate, and I think the students really got a lot out of it. It's sad that I won't be able to do that when I get back (at least with that band).
You should go buy Accident Clearinghouse CDs as Christmas presents for yourself and your friends.
Jeff Tranberry and his band, Accident Clearinghouse, use a number of Mac software products to promote their music on the Web. One is the previously mentioned eMerge from Galleon Software.
"We use their bulk email program to stay in contact with our fans to let them know what kinds of things the band is up to and when our next shows are," Tranberry says. "We also use it to manage our press releases to newspapers, magazines, radio stations, distributors and record labels. Through the use of this product, and the large databases we have assembled, we can quickly disseminate information to A LOT of people VERY CHEAPLY, including links to MP3. For instance, for each town we visit on tour, I have every music critic/writer at every newspaper and weekly in town. I can fire off an bulk email, personalized for each writer, from my laptop (a G3), with the dates that we'll be in town, links to our Web site, and it costs me nothing."
Plus, when Accident Clearinghouse releases a new album, Tranberry creates a list for all the record reviewers and includes links to samples, other reviews, a press release, and a form to get a copy of the CD to review. The other components to their Web site is QuickTime 4.0 and Media Cleaner Pro, Tranberry adds.